Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 9 years ago

Is it legal for a community college professor to confiscate the cellphones of the entire class?

Here is the e-mail I received from my politics and government teacher:

Unfortunately it was reported to me by more than one student that several students were using their cell phones during the exam to look up answers to the questions. I refer students to Chapter 8, pages 44-45 of the ... Catalogue. Use of a cell phone or accessing the Internet is not allowed--I consider it cheating. This activity subjects students who have done so to the disciplinary actions listed in the catalogue.

While I did not witness the cheating on this exam, I will take steps for the remaining two exams to make it very hard to do this again. These steps may include but will not be limited to confiscation of all cell phones, ipads and electronic devices during the test; additional proctors to assist during the exam and assigned seating for exam sessions.

Is it legal for the professor to confiscate the cell phone of the entire class for the actions of a few? It does not seem she is going to pursue disciplinary action against these students, but rather take precautionary methods, all of which besides the confiscation of the cell phones I feel is legal and reasonable. I was not cheating on the exam by the way. I just feel that it is not legal to confiscate ones personal property without personal cause or proof that they personally violated the rules. It was not the entire class that was cheating. I would not be complaining if this was k-12 for two reasons, one because they are minors, two I feel that other preventive actions would be difficult, including proctors. Also, would the teacher be liable for the items she has confiscated, this is probably a couple thousand dollars worth of electronics she is confiscating, and without the students doing this voluntarily, (but rather handing over their cellphones in fear of not being able to take the test or just plain getting on the teacher's bad side.) What happens if she drops an item and it breaks or something, is she allowed to be assuming that type of responsibility as a teacher in a community college?

I would love any input on this. I am not sure what actions I want to take on this yet or if any will be needed. I would definitely like to hear any opposing arguments rather than, "just hand it over and quit complaining since you didn't do anything wrong". If you have evidence supporting either side, it would be greatly appreciated if you share.


I am concerned about her collecting the entire classes cellphones, not just the phone of one student as a disciplinary action, but the phones of the whole class as a precautionary method.

5 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oh the drama.

    What is the big deal about either not bringing your phone with you to one class, for a total of two days?

    Community college - smh

  • 9 years ago

    OMG, a prof who will not allow the class to cheat on his exam !! Oh the humanity !!

    not allowing phones and other electronic cheats in the class is not confiscating. Confiscation would be if he took your phone and never returned it. Removing all devices for the duration of the exam is no different than telling the students to clear their desks and put away all their books.

    I am assuming that you are an honest student and will ace both exams without breaking a sweat. If so, it is in your own interest to ensure that other students are also marked based on their actual knowledge and not on the strength of their cell phone signal.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The professor is stating his own opinion and should not really be doing that. However,if I need the credit or like the course,I would ignore the personnel comments made by the professor and concentrate on the course content. However,if you feel these comments will make it impossible to do your work,or to stay out of serious conflict with the professor, then I would drop the course.

  • 9 years ago

    I think it is completely proper for the teacher not to allow people to have cell phones with them during a test. If you have them, she should be able to take custody of them during the exam. (It's kind of like taking a math test where they don't allow calculators. In that case I think you would agree that the teacher could take someone's calculator away during the class)

    While the teacher may or may not have used the word "confiscate" making people put something away or out of reach during a test (i.e. a book, notes, etc.) is not unreasonable and she is not "confiscating them" b/c she is giving them back to you after the test. I am a lawyer and former community college teacher and I am backing the teacher legally and as a matter of principle on this one.

    Source(s): i am a lawyer w/ 24 yrs experience.
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  • Jim
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Because you have been warned, and no one is forcing you to bring the cell phone into the class, it is completely legal. I took a state certification test once where they had a basket where everyone had to put their cell phones in. Just leave it locked up in your car or with a friend or something during the test.

    The teacher is probably *not* legally liable, but you might get the school to pay if something was broken or lost (employees are not legally liable for stuff broken on the job). Just spread the word to everyone to not bring their cell phones into the class on examination days.

    Now, should someone lie and say they didn't bring it, but they actually have it but turned it off, that would work, too. The teacher can not legally search you. But if that phone rings or the teacher catches someone having a visible one, the teacher is entirely within his rights to give that person a zero and report them for being a cheat.

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